Forgotten Musicians: The New Symphony Orchestra, 1905-1938

Wednesday 3 November 2010, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Emily Worthington

Today, the New Symphony Orchestra is rarely discussed, except in accounts of the early career of Thomas Beecham. However, in its heyday from 1909 and 1919 the NSO was a leading ensemble, both in terms of playing standard and its pioneering work in the recording studio. Research into the NSO, largely through ephemeral sources such as newspaper listings, reviews and concert programmes, shows that the orchestra was considered to rank alongside the leading orchestras of its day.

This paper will explore the origins and history of the NSO, including its position as the first British orchestra to be formed by musicians who shared a common educational background, and its early work with the Gramophone Company. I will conclude by considering why the NSO vanished from history and what questions that raises about the historiography of orchestral activity in London before the Second World War.

Location: E107